Whether you live locally or are planning a holiday on the north west coast of England, there are lots of things to do in Southport for families. Some of which even come free!
This elegant Victorian resort has golden sandy beaches and lots of wildlife attractions, as well as pretty parks and plenty of other places to keep both kids and adults busy.
This guide will take you through 10 of the best Southport attractions for your family stay or day out by the sea.
Read on so you can pinpoint the places to visit in Southport that will suit your family best.
10 of the best things to do in Southport with kids
Make sure you pack a bucket and spade or two before heading to the sweep of golden sands situated by the second longest pier in the entire country.
Once you arrive you can unpack a picnic, paddle at the shallow water’s edge, play a ball game or fly a kite. Or perhaps you’d simply prefer to sit back and relax as the kids run around.
With the town centre close by and parking right by the sand, visiting the main beach is one of the top things to do in Southport – this weekend or during the long summer holidays.
While you’re in the area, Marshside RSPB is also one of the finest Southport things to do for a family. It’s also close to the beach and the town centre.
City dwellers in particular will be delighted to witness boxing hares during spring, nesting birds in summer and colourful water fowl in winter. If you get lucky, you may even spy a magnificent bird of prey as its impressive wingspan sweeps across the sky above.
Regular events and guided walks take place, so it’s worth checking the RSPB website before you go. The reserve also has three viewing screens as well as a viewing platform and two hides.
Things to do around Southport don’t all involve natural attractions. If you have little ones chomping at the bit to burn off some energy, Pleasureland is the pick of the Southport tourist attractions to head for.
As well as having thrilling rides, this well-kept amusement park is awash with fresh flowers and offers unlimited rides once the admission price has been paid. If anyone doesn’t want to have a go, a non-rider option is also available.
Your well-behaved family pet can even be taken into the park, making sure it’s a fun day out for all the family.
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Queen’s Jubilee Nature Trail
The Queen’s Jubilee Nature Trail is also easy to reach from the centre of town and is a great place to take a picnic as you try to spot local wildlife along the way.
This is not only one of the most fun things to do in Southport – it’s also free. There are picnic tables to stop at for refreshments or an al fresco meal, and one of the highlights is the viewing platform offering panoramic views over Southport beach.
You may see shore birds roosting from here, or even spot the Welsh Hills if you look towards the south. The area is also rich in flora, and you may see orchids in season as well as a series of sand dunes clothed in willow scrub.
Hire bikes from Southport Eco Centre
Cycling has never been more popular than since the start of the worldwide pandemic – and Southport Eco Centre on the Esplanade hires out bikes to locals and holidaymakers alike.
Take two wheels along during your Southport day out and you might just stumble upon all sorts of interesting stuff to do in Southport.
Bikes for kids and adults are available, and in addition you can also rent child seats, trailers and tag-a-longs. If you prefer for your child to ride up front you could also take along your own front mounted child bike seat you can get at https://threo.co.uk/product/front-mounted-child-bike-seat. Hire includes locks, lights and helmets, so it’s easy to make sure everyone stays safe.
Sefton Coastal Path
If you do hire cycles, following the Sefton Coastal Path is just one option regarding places to go in Southport on two wheels, as some of the route is bike friendly, including the first section.
The first stage between Crossens and Ainsdale skirts the edge of the salt marshes of the Ribble and the Marshside RSPB Reserve as well as taking in Southport pier, The Promenade, Lord Street, the suspension bridge, Ocean Plaza and the Queen’s Jubilee Nature Trail.
There are two further sections, so it’s possible to complete the entire Sefton Coastal Path in a weekend should you want to: though this may be one of those things to do in Southport for adults rather than kids.
Occupying a central 17 acre site on the Promenade, there are few nice places to be on a fine day than King’s Gardens in Southport.
As one of the top free things to do in Southport, the gardens tend to be busy all year round. Lottery funding has meant heavy investment in the park since 2012, and as a result they have now been restored in all their Victorian splendour.
Colourful floral displays, the Venetian bridge, the play park and the tea rooms are all among the highlights.
Crosby and Formby beaches
If you’re staying in Southport for a weekend or more, you may wish to venture beyond the town beach during your stay. Especially if the weather is particularly kind.
Formby and Crosby beaches are some of the top places to visit near Southport. The former is famous for its red squirrel population, while the latter is known for Antony Gormley’s Another Place art installation.
You can in fact cycle to Crosby via the Sefton Coast Path, or take a 25-minute train trip. To reach Formby, you can also board a train, but the beach is a mile from the station so you may prefer to drive there.
You can read our post about the Antony Gormley statues here.
The ocean isn’t the only watery draw when it comes to Southport places to visit. You can also take to Southport Marine Lake on a pedalo or motorboat if you feel so inclined.
The large, swan-shaped pedalos can accommodate a whole family and the adults might even appreciate the attractive architecture of the area as they glide along the surface of the water.
With lots of green space by the lake there’s lots of space for everyone to spread out on, whether that’s to partake of a family picnic or to burn off some pent-up energy after a spell spent indoors.
Model Railway Village
If any of your kids are keen trainspotters, then a visit to the model railway village in Southport is a must. The miniature village is one of the most charming things to see in Southport for all ages.
The 1.5 acre site has plenty of picnic areas plus a cafe, gift shop, toilets and parking. While it’s not free, tickets are very affordable, especially when you purchase a family pass.
Photography fans will also love capturing images of the sweet little buildings – complete with miniature figures – or snapping the little train as it trundles along the track.
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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.